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The article ″Coalition MP talks up triple nuclear option at climate summit″ (11/12) raises disturbing issues in regard to Australia’s future energy production and our pathway to net zero. A group of Coalition MPs have backed a pledge to increase nuclear energy output and overturn the current policy of no nuclear energy in Australia. If the Coalition is returned, its energy policy will flip the focus from renewables to nuclear. After all the hard work and investment to establish a secure power system based around renewables, under a Coalition government, renewables would play second fiddle to establishing an expensive nuclear industry that would take at least 10 years to come on line. Aside from the safety issues and emissions from mining uranium, this policy would see renewables sidelined and the path to net zero become a confusion of opposing strategies.
Labor’s attempts to base our energy supply around renewables would be in tatters under a future Coalition government and our path to net zero even more difficult – not to mention the huge costs associated with establishing a fledgling nuclear industry.
Graeme Lechte, Brunswick West
The counterintuitive protest
Were any other middle-aged, climate change-concerned citizens scratching their heads as they sat in traffic consuming three times the usual amount of petrol on their way to work as a result of the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations? The world can’t afford too many of these counterintuitive protests that waste so much fossil fuel. Surely these climate activists can come up with a more effective protest, one that doesn’t lead to petrol bowsers selling more fuel?
Corinne Haber, North Caulfield
All eggs in one basket not the answer
There is a saying, ″Never have all your eggs in the one basket.″ So, imagine my dismay when Powercor told us it was cutting off the power for seven hours on Saturday to do some essential work. Without power there were no lights, no heating, oven or microwave, internet or landline telephone, and the mobile was on mobile data. Without our gas stove top there would have been no cooked lunch or hot cup of tea for my 96-year-old mother on a cold day.
When we moved into this house, I was told I couldn’t keep a landline phone going and have the internet because, with the NBN, all services had to be bundled. When we installed solar panels, we baulked at the added cost of a battery. With a battery, we would have had some of our eggs in another basket. And now, all newly built homes will only have electricity. So why are we rushing to bundle all our utilities and services into the one delivery system, with no back-ups or alternatives? Is it really wise to prioritise the economics at the cost of becoming so vulnerable?
Rhonda Pelletier, Grovedale
Nothing adds up to nothing
Liberal MP Ted O’Brien has made the bold pledge to triple Australia’s nuclear energy capacity when the party is next in government. As we are all aware, three times zero is still zero. This is one pledge I am confident that Peter Dutton could deliver.
Ken Richards, Elwood
Investment market may be the saviour
The article ″COP is all hot air, technology and the markets are solving the climate crisis″ (9/12) was the most hopeful and encouraging news on the climate front that I can recall. I’d given up on COP as an international ″love-in″ and a junket hijacked by fossil fuel interests. Maybe the investment markets will make up their mind and save us? Let’s hope so.
Andrew Barnes, Ringwood
Columnist Gary Nunn’s selection of ″common sense″ ideas demonstrates that one person’s no-brainer is another’s crazy idea (Comment, 11/12).
For instance, Nunn suggests that people using mobile phones in libraries should be jailed, and that every street have a bike lane. Pick the bizarre idea.
He cuts right through the culture wars. His proposal that comedians and writers should stop worrying about offending some people will appeal to fuddy-duddy conservatives who believe in ″freedom of speech″. But they will be less likely to think giving the vote to 16-year-olds is sensible.
Nunn’s clever blend of the unremarkable and the far-fetched shows how subjective common sense really is.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
US in the right
While I appreciate why there is increasing concern about the escalating death toll in Gaza, your correspondent’s characterisation of the US veto of a call for a ceasefire as “a disgrace” (Letters, 11/12) is wrong. The United States has tried to negotiate pauses in the fighting in order to allow aid to be provided for civilians and for the release of hostages but correctly has come to the conclusion that a permanent ceasefire would provide Hamas and its allies with a propaganda victory. Moreover, they would be able to rebuild and start the cycle of violence all over again.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont
Your correspondent believes that a “just peace” for the Middle East region would require all Palestinian people being granted the “right to return” to Israel (Letters, 11/12). Since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, Arabs have continued to constitute about 20 per cent of Israel’s population, whereas Jews have all but disappeared from the surrounding Muslim-majority nations.
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East
Go to Washington
It would be wise of Simon Birmingham and Penny Wong to replace their planned trips to Israel with flights to Washington. As Izzat Salah Abdulhadi, Palestine’s key representative in Australia, has made clear (″Be brave: Envoy urges Wong to break with US on Gaza war″, 11/12), the United States is the critical powerbroker in the conflict. President Joe Biden has the power to insist on a ceasefire. He must be persuaded to stop supplying Israel with the arms and funds that are enabling its onslaught on Gaza. His words cautioning Israel to show restraint have been totally ineffective. Only the actual withdrawal of material support will make a difference. That’s where Birmingham and Wong should be investing their diplomatic energies.
Tom Knowles, Parkville
The US veto of the UN resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire in the war on Gaza shows the world two things: just how morally bankrupt the United States is and the reason that no country should have the power of veto.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn
Politicians and party faithful like to create myths and illusions. Labor would like us to believe it is a good manager of the economy, and most other things, and hopes voters will reward it. The Coalition knows it is an excellent manager of the economy, and everything else, and expects voters to reward it. If only life was so simple.
Michael Hall, Blackburn
Put exams in perspective
It is timely to reflect briefly on the actual importance of VCE exam results.
First, I would note that the results are indeed significant, and do provide a gateway for students to gain entry to courses and jobs of their choice. It is important, however, to recognise that these opportunities are but one of many, many educational opportunities and pathways. Failure to gain the result that one hoped for is inconvenient, but it is not any sort of permanent educational or employment handicap.
No educational or employment doors are permanently closed as a consequence of year 12 results. There are a huge range of courses available, and many ways to gain entry to the courses/jobs of one’s choice. In this respect it is worth noting that within a couple of years of sitting year 12 examinations students are eligible for mature student special entry tertiary education schemes.
Speaking as someone who has taught year 12, marked year 12 exams, sat on Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) examination setting panels for many years and had three of my own children sit VCE, I would urge students – and parents of students – to keep the actual importance of year 12 results in perspective. Year 12 results are but one of a whole lifetime of educational and employment pathways.
By all means take the exams seriously and students should, of course, strive to perform well, but it is counterproductive and just plain wrong to invest these examinations with long-term permanent importance that they do not possess.
Bill Anderson, Anglesea
Here’s to Costa
David Astle’s column (10/12) on the word of the year left me asking myself an old person’s question. Surely, I thought, Australians would not say ″cozzie livs″ but rather ″costa livs″? A very Australian and fitting tribute to Costa Georgiadis.
Juliet Flesch, Kew
Your well-informed correspondents in last Saturday’s Age focused on specific issues burdening public education.
As one wrote, public education in Australia is so under-funded many government schools cannot provide operating libraries for their students.
While Victorian private schools have (mostly Commonwealth) public funding to subsidise the construction of ever more opulent and complex educative megaplexes the public schools struggle to maintain a remnant library. Your correspondent noted that school libraries were at the heart of literacy education and literacy was the foundation of learning.
As a dedicated casual relief teacher who has worked in many school settings over the past 10 years, I have observed that private education in Victoria is shamefully wealthy while public education is embarrassingly poor. Quite simply, the distribution of public funding for education in Australia is a national disgrace.
Matthew Kelly, Upwey
Dear letters editor …
As an avid reader of letters to the editor, it is the first column I read after my early morning rounds outside with the dog.
Reading letters started in the early 1960s, in my penultimate year at school, when our English expression teacher required us to select, cut out and bring a letter from The Age. At that time most households had a real copy delivered by a local paperboy or girl on their bike.
Once in class, we glued our letter onto paper and set about investigating the grammatical structures, choice of words and the general thought process on current matters. I must admit that at the time I felt this was a bit of a chore, but on reflection I realise that a seed had been planted.
Although my letter-writing days started much later, I kept up the habit of reading this interesting barometer, even submitting letters to the NZZ in Zurich while I was living there.
This year will soon make way for 2024 and it is my wish that letter writers and readers will continue to comment on life with increased vigour leading to robust discussion.
Judith Hudson, Elwood
Tax breaks v housing
The kicker for me in Peter Hartcher’s column (9/12) was the jaw-dropping statistic from Per Capita that tax breaks for property investors are worth more than 11 times the amount spent by the federal government on social housing. How can anyone read that and not be outraged?
We can only hope the likes of Jacqui Lambie, David Pocock and the Greens keep the pressure on Labor in 2024 to make the massive correction that is urgently needed.
Ann Maginness, Beaumaris
Not such a sticky wicket
The farcical situation with the BBL at Geelong could have been easily resolved. Abandon the match, share the points then play 10 overs each with slow bowlers only from one end and give the crowd and TV audience some entertainment.
Fix this path
The Beleura cliff path was built with pick and shovel more than 100 years ago (″Cliff path in danger of closing forever″, 9/12). It is a beautiful part of Melbourne that, up until now, many people have been able to enjoy.
If there were badly designed or broken drains or poorly maintained irrigation systems in my street my neighbours would correct the problems on their properties and if they didn’t the council would surely have some sway.
We all have the responsibility to care about the impact on others and this lack of care is affecting thousands of people who now can’t access the path. Time for the council to step up.
Joan Johnson, Camberwell
Merry no more
The merry seems to have well disappeared from Christmas. I’ve grown up in a culture where, during December, shopping malls play carols. People walk along smiling and talking pleasantly to strangers. Happiness and good cheer abound.
Instead we have strident American pop songs blaring out. People scurry along, unsmiling, unfriendly.
It’s so disappointing.
Trish Young, an unashamed
Christmas tragic, Hampton
AND ANOTHER THING
Annastacia Palaszczuk came from very humble beginnings to become one of Queensland’s most successful politicians. For that, she should be celebrated.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
Well done Annastacia Palaszczuk. A progressive banana-bender who brought conservative Queenslanders through the COVID crisis with style and authority.
Greg Curtin, Nunawading
Maybe the Coalition’s spokesman for climate change and energy Ted O’Brien could ask Santa to supply Australia with ready-to-use nuclear small modular reactors.
Jenny Smithers, Ashburton
Cost-of-living reductions are needed now, from immigration reductions now, not in two years.
Malcolm Cameron, Camberwell
There’s been a lot of talk about ChatGPT and AI in general regarding the potential for good or danger. Terminator 2 anyone?
Greg Wilson, Wallan
As a pre-Baby Boomer born early on in WWII, I pray non-stop for my grandchildren and those beyond. No WWIII, thank you.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield
Melbourne isn’t Amsterdam – the bike-riding choice is helmet hair or head injury.
Paul Custance, Highett
What do all the countries and the UN calling for a ceasefire in Gaza suggest Israel should do when Hamas crosses the border and slaughters another 1000 Israelis next time, call for another ceasefire?
Peter Weston, Sorrento
The children in Gaza who survive to adulthood will be ready-made recruits for Hamas.
Tasma Wischer, Hawthorn
In relation to your correspondent’s suggestion (Letters, 11/12) that the Big Banana should be placed outside the NGV, I think that most Victorians would probably not find it that appealing.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine
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